Why You Should Retire to the Mountains of North Carolina

Retirement aged couple enjoying their leisure time in the NC mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains are known as a favorite vacation destination. The cool temps and picturesque scenery bring folks from all walks of life to enjoy a week, weekend, or even season. But did you know that the beautiful mountains of Boone, North Carolina, are ranked as one of Forbe’s best places to retire?

So, as you are dreaming of the perfect location to retire, take a look at some of the reasons why the High Country and the NC mountains are great places to call home.

People who retire in the North Carolina mountains can:

  • Experience all 4 seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall
  • Enjoy the high altitudes that range from 2000-5000 ft in elevation
  • Be able to breathe in the fresh mountain air
  • See more green trees and plants and experience cooler temperatures
  • Have opportunities to stay active
  • Experience small-town charm instead of the hustle and bustle of the big cities.

3 Reasons to Plan Your NC Mountain Retirement

While there are no exclusive “retirement communities” in the High Country, that hasn’t stopped retirees from finding reasons to plan their NC mountain retirement here. Most of our communities have a mix of local, long term and seasonal residents, retirees, and vacationers.

There are gated communities, subdivisions, county neighborhoods, rural farmlands, and mountainside retreats. With so many possibilities, finding that perfect place to call home may require an expert’s help. An experienced real estate agent can help you find the area and the home that makes the most sense for you as you plan for retirement.

Keep reading to find the 3 main reasons you should plan your NC Mountain retirement. 

#1: Charming Towns & Communities

One of the main reasons to plan your NC mountain retirement in the High Country is because of the variety of charming towns and communities within the region. The High Country has several towns that can keep you connected to the real world as well as within reach of some of the area’s natural wonders.

Living in rural Appalachia North Carolina isn’t for everyone. Sometimes living in the mountains does not always mean living on a rural mountainside. In the small towns of Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk, and West Jefferson, you will find coffee shops and eateries to connect with friends, shops and farmer’s markets, art galleries and art classes, outdoor and indoor concerts, theater productions, fitness centers, and hospitals.

But within a short drive, you can be on the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading to one of 3 ski slopes, hiking to waterfalls, and flyfishing or kayaking the rivers. Deciding the right High Country community for you is important. Use our guide to decide where to live in the High Country to learn more about each town.

Deciding Where to Live in the High Country of NC

#2: Get a Breath of Fresh Mountain Air

For the retirees that need a breath of fresh mountain air and still seek a little adventure in their golden years, the High Country is a great place to call home. There are plenty of hidden gems to explore and outdoor activities perfect for active adults.

To keep active, there is so much to do in the mountains of North Carolina like:

  1. Take a hike! There are so many hiking trails in the NC mountains ranging from short, easy walks to long, strenuous uphill climbs.
  2. Flyfish and kayak on the New River
  3. Bike the Greenway in Boone or Railroad Grade Road in Todd or anywhere in between.
  4. Snow ski at Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain or Appalachian Ski Mountain
  5. Join a club and find your match on the tennis courts or for a round of golf. There are several golf communities in the High Country such as Hound Ears, Deer Valley Fitness Club, Yonalossee Racquet Club, Boone Golf Course, Mountain Aire, Jefferson Landing, Beech Mountain Club, Sugar Mountain Golf.
  6. Visit our State Parks including:
  7. Take a ride in the countryside and see and experience the various farms around. There are Christmas Tree farms, cattle, alpacas, sheep, apple orchards, blueberry orchards, and flower gardens to name a few.
  8. Wherever you are, take some time to be still and watch for wildlife. You will be amazed!

Staying active has its health benefits for retirees but keeping active in the mountains with the fresh air and the higher altitudes can have positive effects on cardiovascular health, mental health as well as longevity of life.

#3: Rich Appalachian History & Culture

Retirement is a time to enjoy a more leisurely schedule and spend time doing things you enjoy. The NC High Country has so much to explore, especially the rich Appalachian history and culture. With deep roots in agriculture, music, and art and a unique mountain style, the NC mountains are a great place to retire.

You can connect with the past and discover the rich mountain culture that is still alive today. Some of the things you don’t want to miss include historical landmarks, museums, breweries, galleries, and more include:

Historical landmarks:


  • Blowing Rock Art and History Museum
  • Hickory Ridge History Museum
  • Appalachian Fossil Museum
  • Doc Watson Museum at Cove Creek
  • Museum of Ashe County History
  • Museum of North Carolina Minerals


  • Appalachian Mountain Brewery
  • Appalachian Mountain Brewery
  • Beech Mountain Brewing Co.
  • Booneshine Brewing Company in East Boone
  • Boonedocks Brewing
  • Blowing Rock Brewing Co.
  • Lost Province Brewing Co.
  • New River Brewing Co.

Must Visit Breweries Near Boone

Vineyards and Wineries

  • Grandfather Vineyard and Winery
  • Banner Elk Winery
  • Linville Falls Winery

Art Galleries & Local Artists

  • Turchin Center
  • Churches of the Frescoes
  • Carlton Gallery
  • Doe Ridge Pottery
  • Martin House Gallery
  • Hands Craft Gallery
  • Shipyard Earthworks
  • Watauga County Arts Council
  • Ashe County Arts Council
  • Penland Gallery and Visitors Center

Popular Restaurants for Retirees

  • Dan’l Boone Inn
  • Game Keeper
  • Chetola
  • Pepper’s
  • The Best Cellar
  • The Artisanal

Local Guide to Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants in Boone

Choosing to retire or purchase a vacation home in the NC mountains has so many benefits. Not only are you investing your time in such a special place but also your money. An 828 Real Estate agent can help through the relocation and buying process.

About the Author
As a native Eastern North Carolina girl, I always dreamed of one day living in the mountains. In 1994, that dream came true when life brought me to the Boone area. I made my home on one of the most beautiful mountains in the High Country and knew immediately that this is where I belonged. In the 26 years that I have lived here, I have worked in many roles. Beginning as a hist-technologist, then a full-time mom and volunteer in various positions and organizations in the Boone community. Leading Watauga Education Foundation and serving as producer of their Shooting Stars Talent Showcase was one of the highlights of my volunteer work. When the time came for my children to leave the nest and go to college, I decided that I would pursue a new direction in life. Real estate seemed to be just the adventure I was looking for.  Working in real estate gives me many opportunities to share my knowledge and love of the High Country with others, as well as, finding new friendships and connections along the way. 

I am a graduate of Peace College and NC State University. I love music, craft things, nature and wildlife. I enjoy hiking, camping, boating, and spending time outdoors with my family. I am a member of Boone United Methodist Church where I am active in the United Methodist Women and Women's Ministries.  My greatest loves are my two children Addie and Will and my dog, Daisy and cat, Oscar. 

There is so much to see and experience in the High Country. I look forward to helping you explore as we find your perfect place.